Where was Betty? My 4th show, 1st personally attended with a taper so we got it immediately!
By the way, for those of you who are looking for a board tape of this, to my knowledge Betty didn't record this one very unfortunately; but like usual Dr. Rob Bertrando did a great job in the audience!
Firstly, I don't know what you folks are talking about who mentioned missing tunes etc. It seems to all here to me! Secondly, a little explaining here about what may seem now to be unimportant, but if you'll bare with me; I think you can see that the following is very different from what later on was almost always the case. That is, a solid 3 hours + break, instead of them being the ones who, as many of you know, often were late! What I'm talking about is Weir saying, just before "Friend of the Devil" : "And next time we'll try a little harder to be on time". This is probably since the Forum in those days was rather strict about ending a show within curfew, ie. how else could they play longer than most bands and still make curfew. However luckily, unlike many including me (us), Dr. Rob Bertrando was in there ready to record the opener!
I say this because we were far, far from being the only ones late. So rather than as some reviewers surmised who weren't there, that they felt as though they were tired after the East Coast, and perhaps they were. Or was it that much of the reserved floor seats were still empty after we got into the performance which had been going since 7:00 PM?
In my (our) particular case, we were late mostly due to the adjacent Hollywood Park Horse Race Track getting out at the same time as we were coming in. I'd just graduated from Redondo (Beach) Union High. My friend John Redfern, who'd drove a bunch of us younger folks to the show, recorded most of this on a rinky-dink recorder from where we were (Loge on the right side); that is after we finally got thorough the traffic and inside midway through Tennessee Jed I remember I was handing over my ticket. Being in a group, naturally we had lame tickets.
But alas, we tripped on that not so bad recording all summer long, being the first time I had a recording of a show I'd actually attended. Especially my all time favorite, yet short, but incredible rendition of, (yes, they played it much longer at for example, Winterland several times etc.);
and despite the talking during the beginning : Fernario!! Check out how the drummers come thumping back to bring Jerry around for the next go round of the chord progression in the middle of the instrumental. (I didn't get my 1st copy of Rob's complete recording until some time near the end of the year.) And I didn't actually meet him until exactly a year later at the U.C.S.B. show, (also killer)!
I had this feeling in the back of my mind that I'd heard the Terrapin ending theme somewhere before, (even though it hadn't yet been released on vinyl at the time of this Forum show)? I surmised at the time mistakenly that perhaps, it was similar to a classical melody or something like that, wrong! It turned out, the true answer to this feeling eventually was revealed to me when I eventually got an audience tape of my 3rd show at the Swing Aud. in San Bernadino 1977-2-26; (which was later burned down after after a plane crashed into it, two years later during which Grateful Dead played there again several times. Anyway, since that was a general admission show I was naturally in front and therefore I now clearly recall, what many of you now know, was the debut of Terrapin Station and Estimated Prophet! But in between time, my memory started to fade a bit naturally, since I still didn't have a tape of a show I had actually attended until this Forum show. Nevertheless, it still stuck in my sub-conscious for another 3 1/2 months.
So visualize if you can what the band looked like at this and ALL of my first four shows, (that is, by coincidence they were all where the same clothes at each of these shows, not just Garcia in black), by looking inside the final vinyl double Warner Bros. collection, release, (ie. to fulfill the record contract), "What a long strange Trip" album. Inside there are good photos of my 1st show which was the second one with the Who at Oakland Stadium 1976-10-10. (My 2nd, the second one at the Shrine in L.A., 1976-10-15). The greatest of all these was the this Forum show in my opinion (even as fantastic as the first three were). Not only of course skinny Jerry in black with "The enemy is listening" sticker on his white Travis Bean guitar with the aluminum neck; but also Donna in her green dress and sunglasses, Phil on the bass with the 10 buttons, Bob with his maroon shirt and still with a beard, and Keith with the Grand piano, which from the loge at the Forum show one could see the big "thunder skull" on the piano cover.
It also must be noted that The Forum was one of the most difficult venues to sneak equipment into, so I'd really like to know how Rob got his stuff in! Did he have a backstage passes or what? I personally, later managed to sneak in my gear for the Allman Bros. in 1979 at The Forum and even later with the help of a new found friend working security for the Eagles in 1980. Unfortunately, this relationship dissolved shortly thereafter, for other reasons beyond my control and obviously it was again difficult to get stuff in there.
Moreover, Rob's recording has a lot of dynamic range and a good drum and bass response. Except at the beginning which maybe is more a function of getting the P.A. tuned as is often the case! Healy seemed to be able to tune this venue; despite it's notoriously bad acoustics even though it was their first time there. I remember several concerts at The Forum besides those I've mentioned and only Genesis in 1977 seemed to compare in terms of sound!
This was a totally energized performance in my opinion regardless of what those who thought they were tired say all the way through! There ain't many out of the approximately 211 shows I attended that I can say that about absolutely! To reiterate again, most notably the Fernario was in my opinion the absolutely greatest ever!